Getting older has a few perks, from wisdom and a greater perspective on life to simple things like senior discounts.
From a physical standpoint, however, most of us associate aging with wrinkles, joint problems and a decline in sexual performance.
While the belief that sexual activity tends to decline with age is accurate, the link between age and sexual dysfunction isn’t as strong as you might think.
In fact, with the right habits, it’s often possible to maintain a strong sex drive and good sexual performance well into old age.
Below, we’ve looked at the science behind aging and sexual health to explain when most men start to experience a decline in their sexual performance and incline in instances of sexual dysfunction.
We’ve also shared a few actionable tips that you can use to maintain a healthy, enjoyable sex life in your 60s, 70s and beyond.
Since sex drive and physical health can vary hugely from person to person, there’s no specific age at which most men give up on sex.
However, research suggests that most men have a “sexual life expectancy” (the estimated age at which they’ll stop engaging in sexual activity on a regular basis) of around 75 to 85 years.
In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Chicago, researchers looked at the link between age and sexual activity in men and women throughout the United States.
The study used data sourced from large-scale surveys of the US population and found that 38.9 percent of men between 75 to 85 years of age remained sexually active.
It also noted that 70.8 percent of sexually active men reported that they had a “good quality” sex life.
Interestingly, the men who reported being in either very good or excellent health were more likely than their peers to maintain a high level of interest in sex.
In short, most men remain sexually active well into retirement age, with the majority of sexually active senior men happy with their sex lives.
Sex drive, or libido, tends to decrease with age in men and women. Part of this is due to natural changes in your production of testosterone that occur as you get older.
Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. It’s responsible for many of your male secondary sex characteristics, such as your voice and the amount of muscle mass on your frame. It’s also directly responsible for regulating your sex drive.
As you age, it’s normal for your testosterone production to slowly decline. Most men begin to produce less testosterone after age 30, with testosterone production dropping by about one percent every year.
Women experience a similar drop in hormone levels, with estrogen production declining after menopause.
Since testosterone plays a major role in regulating your sexual desire, this decline in testosterone production may cause you to gradually feel less interested in sexual activity.
Beyond the age-related decline in testosterone production, other factors related to aging can also affect your level of interest in sex and overall sexual desire.
As people get older, medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and others become more prevalent.
Many of these conditions can have a negative effect on sexual performance and libido.
Certain medications used to treat age-related issues, such as blood pressure medications or antidepressants, can also affect sex drive.
Finally, issues such as depression, anxiety and stress — which often develop in middle age or later in life — can also have a negative effect on sexual desire.
While it’s normal to experience some amount of slowdown in your sexual desire as you grow older, entering your 60s, 70s or even your 80s doesn’t mean that you need to throw in the towel.
By taking steps to avoid poor health, treating medical conditions as they arise and, if necessary, using medication to prevent issues such as erectile dysfunction, it’s absolutely possible to enjoy satisfying sexual relationships well into old age. Below, we’ve explained how.
When it comes to staying sexually active as you grow older, good physical health usually equals good sexual health and healthy sexual desire.
Simple things such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol excessively all have a positive impact on your sexual health and ability to maintain a healthy sex life in your 60s and 70s.
Erectile dysfunction can affect men of all ages, but it’s particularly common in older men. In fact, research suggests that men have about a 40 percent risk of developing some form of ED in their 40s, with this risk increasing by 10 percent with each additional decade.
The good news is that modern ED medications can make it easy to maintain an erection, even if you’re one of the many men affected by ED.
Used before sex, these medications make it easier to get and maintain an erection, allowing you to have satisfying sexual intercourse without having to worry about ED.
Our guide to the most common ED treatments goes into more detail about how ED medications work, as well as what you should be aware of before using them.
Many sexual performance issues that affect older men are either directly caused or made worse by chronic health conditions.
For example, erectile dysfunction is often caused by high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other physical conditions that become more prevalent with age.
If you have a chronic disease or other health issues that could affect your sexual function, make sure to treat it.
Keep in touch with your healthcare provider and, if necessary, use medication to control your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
It’s also important to take a proactive approach to checking for age-related medical issues that could affect your sexual performance and quality of life.
If you’re between the ages 55 and 69, it’s important to discuss prostate cancer screening with your healthcare provider. By being proactive about your health, you’ll be able to deal with issues as they arise and maintain good sexual health and performance at any age.
Although it’s normal to have sex less frequently as you get older, the right combination of good habits, a positive mindset and, if necessary, medication can help you to maintain a healthy sex life as you get older.